Legal use of University of Kentucky Libraries' Electronic Resources

University of Kentucky Libraries' electronic resources (databases, ebooks, e-journals) are generally governed by license agreements that limit use to current students and employees of the University of Kentucky, or individuals who are physically present in the UK Libraries.

Exceptions to these limits include titles in the public domain, government documents and certain open access titles.

Each user is responsible for ensuring that licensed products are only used for non-commercial, educational, clinical, scholarly, or research purposes. Permitted actions generally include: downloading, viewing, temporarily storing, or printing discrete, reasonable portions of the materials.

The following activities are strictly prohibited:

    • Systematically downloading, distributing, or retaining indefinitely substantial portions of information.
    • The use of software such as scripts, agents, or robots to harvest information.
    • Sharing passwords or other access codes.
    • Running open proxy and open terminal services.
    • Copying and posting materials on open websites.
    • Sharing proprietary or client software connected to information resources. Users must be aware that violations of these terms may result in loss of access to these resources for the entire University of Kentucky community. People who violate these restrictions may have their UK library privileges revoked. Specific examples of prohibited activities include:
      • Sharing an access password with unauthorized users--including family, friends, or co-workers.
      • Downloading entire issues of electronic journals, several sequential chapters in online books, or attempting to create large databases from bibliographic files, is generally prohibited by license agreements. Systematic downloading of content — manually or with specialized software — is detectable by information providers and may result in loss of that information service to the entire University of Kentucky campus.
      • Engaging in actions intended to circumvent or defeat access control mechanisms of the libraries or information provider may result in revocation of library privileges and other campus, civil or criminal disciplinary measures.

Use of these resources may also be covered under the Administrative Regulation 10:1 for the Use of Technology Resources. Each licensed product may have more specific or additional permissions or prohibitions. In many instances, walk-in users (individuals who are physically present on the University of Kentucky campus and who are not University of Kentucky students or employees) are restricted in the amount of material they may download or print by the specific agreement for a license.


Public domain

Public domain titles are those for which copyright protection has expired (in the US, books published more than 95 years ago), been explicitly waived by the work’s creator, or is not allowed (as with many government documents).

Government publications

Federal documents created by federal employees in the course of their work are considered in the public domain in the U.S. In addition, publications from many non-US governments are also freely available for reuse.

Certain open access documents

Certain open access documents may have fewer limits on reuse. Many open access documents are still governed by publisher restrictions, and their terms of use reflect the terms of use for licensed resources. Others are governed by Creative Commons licenses, which allow for broader reuse. Some Creative Commons licenses allow for reusing the original work on the broadest of terms, as long as the original creator is credited. Other Creative Commons licenses only allow for downloading and sharing non-commercially, but no changes to the original work are allowed. There are other Creative Commons licenses that fall between these two extremes. If a work is open access, double-check how it may be reused, or contact the Electronic Resources Department for assistance.

Questions about the appropriate use of licensed information resources may be directed to the Electronic Resources Department.

HOURS for December 2, 2021